Bellaire - Meyerland - West University | December 2020

BELLAIRE MEYERLAND WEST UNIVERSITY EDITION

VOLUME 2, ISSUE 8  DEC. 3, 2020JAN. 6, 2021

ONLINE AT

out of 5,400 ocers had 10 or more complaints from 2015-19. is the average yearly number of misconduct complaints resulting in discipline in 2015-19. Ocer infractions Houston Police Dept. 33 1,354

External complaints Internal complaints

Sustained complaints by source since 2015

1,343 5,426

No. 1 complaint: Improper police procedure

Signs promoting vacant retail space have become prominent xtures. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper) Amixedbag After registering a shock, retail leasing outlook is unclear

SOURCE: HOUSTON POLICE DEPARTMENTCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Police oversight board seen as target for reform

BY EMMA WHALEN

Editor’s note: This article is the second in a series exploring Houston’s police reform task force report. Formed amid calls for reform in 2011, Houston’s Police Oversight Board is facing new scrutiny in the aftermath of Houstonian George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody this spring. The volunteer board serves as an independent checkonHoustonPoliceDepartment’s Internal Aairs Division, which investigates ocer misconduct. In recent years criticism of the board has grown, even from some of its own members. “There are a lot of great police ocers, and I would’ve thought they would want to get rid of these CONTINUED ON 18

BY HUNTER MARROW

Houston area. “I thought because we’re an essential business, it wouldn’t really aect us,” Hazlewood said. “But I didn’t really think about everybody going to work. That’s where a lot of our business comes from.” While there have been some retail closures, data shows the overall picture is less bleak than expected. Occupancy rates for retailers across Bellaire-Mey- erland-West University Place have slipped less than

Collegiate Cleaners has had a presence in Hous- ton’s Rice Village since 1947, providing dry clean- ing, laundry and alterations to generations of Houstonians. The dry cleaner’s owner, Greg Hazlewood—whose family has owned the shop since his grandfather bought it in 1979—has managed to keep it open but said he was caught o guard in March when the coronavirus pandemic struck in the Greater

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7 ood-ghting local projects to know

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THIS ISSUE

FROMKRISTINA: With COVID-19 still upon us, it might be a little harder to get in the holiday spirit, but we have several socially distant and virtual events to try on our To-do List (see Page 5). Also, whether you’re thinking about a mid-year change or preparing for the 2021-22 school year, don’t miss out on our Private School Guide (see Page 12). I wish the best for you and your family as we turn the corner into 2021. Kristina Shackelford, ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER

MARKET TEAM SENIOR EDITOR Matt Dulin CITY HALL REPORTER Emma Whalen REPORTER Hunter Marrow SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Anya Gallant ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Sherry Cousins METRO LEADERSHIP PUBLISHER Jason Culpepper ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Kristina Shackelford MANAGING EDITOR Marie Leonard ART PRODUCTIONMANAGER Kaitlin Schmidt CORPORATE LEADERSHIP PUBLISHERS AND FOUNDERS John and Jennifer Garrett GROUP PUBLISHER Traci Rodriguez EXECUTIVE EDITOR Joe Warner

BECOMEA#COMMUNITYPATRON Please join your friends and neighbors in support of Community Impact Newspaper’s legacy of local, reliable reporting by making a contribution. Together, we can continue to ensure citizens stay informed and keep businesses thriving. COMMUNITYIMPACT.COMCIPATRON CONTACT US

FROMMATT: In 2011, then-Mayor Annise Parker created the Independent Police Oversight Board. Almost a decade later, its role is being challenged to become more powerful and assertive. This month, Reporter Emma Whalen helps unpack the work of the board, the calls for more reform and the resistance to change. Matt Dulin, SENIOR EDITOR

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above it all WE’RE HERE FOR ONE ANOTHER. We’re united in a collective pursuit to keep the people we care for healthy, happy and connected through uncertain times. Even if at a distance, we stand together — inspired by a renewed sense of community and common ground. Because above it all, we here at The Buckingham hope to be a resource for you in ways that reach beyond the search for a senior living community. If you’d like to open up a dialogue, call 713-364-0202. We’re eager to learn how The Buckingham can support you now and in the future.

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BELLAIRE  MEYERLAND  WEST UNIVERSITY EDITION • DECEMBER 2020

IMPACTS

COMPILED BY MATT DULIN & HUNTER MARROW

Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon, relocating or expanding

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West Dallas Street before it moved to a temporary location at 1417 Houston Ave., Houston, during construction. 713-523-3633. www.texashearing.org EXPANSIONS 9 After almost 20 years in the West University area, Eric’s Car Care held a grand opening Oct. 5 for a new shop at 5820 Kirby Drive, Houston. The full-ser- vice garage provides repairs and mainte- nance for cars and trucks of all makes and models. 713-454-7860. www.ericscarcare.co 10 Local Foods , 2424 Dunstan Road, is taking over the space next door that once housed benjy’s, which has permanently closed. The expanded restaurant will in- clude a market and grab-and-go oerings and is slated to be complete in December. 713-521-7800. www.localfoodstexas.com CLOSINGS 11 Politan Row , located at 2445 Times Blvd., Houston, permanently closed Nov. 13. The mid-century-inspired, chef-driven food hall opened a year ago. Amid the pandemic, Politan Row oered its space to displaced members of the hospitality community and participated in Rice Vil- lage’s meal donation campaign, through which it delivered over 15,000 meals to Texas Medical Center workers. www.politanrow.com 12 The Best Buy location at 100 Mey- erland Plaza Mall, Houston, opted not to renew its lease and closed Oct. 31. Best Buy operates 24 other stores in the Hous- ton area, including two within ve miles of Meyerland Plaza. www.bestbuy.com

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NOWOPENREOPENINGS 1 The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston opened the Nancy and Rich Kinder Build- ing on Nov. 21 at 5500 Main St., Houston. The new building is the nal compo- nent of an eight-year project to expand and enhance the museum’s Susan and Fayez S. Sarom Campus. The expansion increases the museum’s exhibition space by nearly 75% and brings with it new destinations, including the 215-seat Lynn Wyatt Theater, a restaurant, a cafe, and seven gardens and six reecting pools. 713-639-7300. www.mfah.org 2 Rice Village welcomed the rst all-female art gallery pop-up in Houston, Inside HER Studio , to 2542 Amherst St., Houston, on Nov. 18. It will remain open

provides high-speed ber internet access, kitchen facilities, conference rooms, and a dog-friendly space with no long-term commitments. 713-337-0909. www.localoce.com 4 Antone’s Famous Po’ Boys at Texas Medical Center reopened Nov. 2 at 6618 Fannin St., Houston. The longtime sandwich chain oers po’boys, traditional sandwiches, salads and desserts as well as catering services. 832-767-1873. www.antones1962.com 5 Upstairs Bar and Lounge above Hungry’s, 2356 Rice Blvd., Houston, reopened Nov. 2. The lounge is oering its weekend brunch and a Seasonal Sips menu every day from 3-6 p.m. as well as a new Bar Bites menu. Upstairs features lounge seating, at-screen TVs and an outdoor terrace. 713-523-8652. www.upstairsbarandlounge.com COMING SOON 6 The 45-year-old Bagel Shop Bakery will open its new location at 5422 Bellaire Blvd., Bellaire, in December, the bakery announced. The location will be

kosher certied by Houston Kashruth (HKA) and Mehadrin Kashrus of Tex- as (MKT). It will operate alongside an expanded New York Deli & Coee Shop, which will open in 2021, and will oer its own patio seating and coee bar. www.nybagelsandcoee.com 7 A dual-branded Hyatt Place/Hyatt House hotel is under construction at 7329 Fannin St., Houston, near the Texas Medical Center. It is slated to open in 2022. The 350,000-square-foot, 14-sto- ry project will oer 298 rooms, a 24-hour dining area, a full-service restaurant and cafe, two on-site bars and a parking garage. A seventh-oor amenity deck will oer 3,500 square feet of meeting space. www.hyatt.com RELOCATIONS 8 In September, the Center for Hearing and Speech moved into its new facility at 3100 Shenandoah St., Houston. It also adopted a new name, The Texas Hearing Institute , as it looks to expand its geo- graphic reach. The institute helps teach children with hearing loss to listen, speak and read. The center was located on

through the end of the year. www.insideherstudio.com 3 Local Oce opened a new

11,000-square-foot coworking space at 4909 Bissonnet St., Bellaire; it is the third location for owner Scott Ruben- stein, a Houston-based commercial real estate developer and president of Pipeline Realty. The shared workspace

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TODO LIST

Holiday events around Houston

COMPILED BY HUNTER MARROW

assistance is generally 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Free access. 713-535-3231. www.houstonballet.org/about/

are strongly encouraged to register in advance for their Santa session online to promote contactless payments. Masks are required for guests age 2 years and older. Free. 5085 Westheimer Road, Houston. www.simonsanta.com VIRTUAL DECEMBER 07 CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING CEREMONY The city of West University Place will still hold its annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, though this year the event will be streamed live through Facebook due to health and safety concerns over COVID-19. 6:30 p.m. Free. 713-668-4441. www.westutx.gov THROUGHDEC. 11 HOUSTON BALLET NUTCRACKER MARKET The Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market has pivoted to an online shopping event for the 2020 holiday season. Online shoppers can nd items from some 150 merchants from across the country, all showcasing unique holiday items, home decor, gourmet food, apparel, jewelry, toys, accessories, candles and more. The virtual market is open 24/7, though chat

nutcracker-market THROUGHDEC. 19 HOLIDAY STORY TIME

On Dec. 5 and every Saturday through Dec. 19, Brazos Bookstore is oering holiday-themed versions of its weekly virtual story times. By tuning in to the bookstore’s Facebook page, children can listen in as stories are read to them, including “Santa Baby,” “Meerkat Christmas,” “Hanukkah Hamster” and “The Night Before Christmas,” among others. Children of all ages and families welcome. 10:30 a.m. Free. 713-523-0701. www.brazosbookstore.com THROUGHDEC. 27 A CHRISTMAS CAROL Alley Theatre is oering a free virtual production of “A Christmas Carol” as a gift to the entire Houston area. The digital adaptation of the Dickens classic is pared down to the essentials as the company of actors assemble online to perform a new production of the classic Christmas story. Free. Register through the company’s website to receive a private link to view anytime between Dec. 4-27. www.alleytheatre.org

THROUGH JAN. 10

ZOO LIGHTS HOUSTON ZOO

The Houston Zoo brings out the holiday cheer with Zoo Lights, featuring large-scale light installations, including a 100-foot-long tunnel. Visitors age 10 years and older are required to wear facial coverings over the nose and mouth. 5:30-10:30 p.m. $12.95-$25.25. 6200 Hermann Park Drive, Houston. 713-533-6550. www.houstonzoo.org (Courtesy Houston Zoo)

This year vendors are located on the White Promenade. 4-8 p.m. Free. 1500 McKinney St., Houston. www.discoverygreen.com THROUGHDEC. 24 SANTAAT THE GALLERIA Parents can bring their children to meet and take photos with Santa at the Galleria on Level 1 of the Nordstrom wing, though with enhanced health and social distancing guidelines in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Parents

IN PERSON THROUGHDEC. 19 FLEA BY NIGHT

Flea by Night has made a return for the 2020 holiday shopping season. Sponsored by Green Mountain Energy, local artisans and small-business owners are selling vintage, handmade, recycled, repurposed and local goods every Saturday through Dec. 19, though with a reduced number of vendor booths.

Find more or submit local events at communityimpact.com/event-calendar. Event organizers can submit local events online to be considered for the print edition. Submitting details for consideration does not guarantee publication.

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BELLAIRE  MEYERLAND  WEST UNIVERSITY EDITION • DECEMBER 2020

Located in the heart of Houston’s Rice Village! Become an exclusive member of our Charter Club in our newly opened assisted living and memory care! Experience a life filled with opportunity and purpose in a safe and loving environment. We provide you the freedom and independence you want, and the personalized care you can count on when you need it.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES

COMPILED BY HUNTER MARROW

COVID-19-related issues. By mid-Octo- ber, the contractor still had final items to complete before the bridge could be safely opened again and had been paying liquidated damages for every day the bridge was not back in service. Timeline: July 2020-November 2020 Cost: $20.7 million Funding sources: Harris County Flood Control District, city of Houston PROPOSED PROJECT 2 Hillcroft Avenue paving and drainage A city of Houston project is in design that will pave concrete along Hillcroft Avenue from Bissonnet Street to Beechnut Street, which includes storm drainage, curbs, sidewalks, driveways, street light- ing, and necessary underground utilities. Houston City Council passed an ordi- nance on the project Nov. 10, authorizing payment for costs of land purchases/ condemnations, relocation assistance expenses and more to move the project forward. The project has not yet been programmed in the city’s five-year Capital Improvement Plan. Timeline: TBD Cost: $13.6 million Funding source: funding not yet allocated

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ONGOING PROJECTS 1 Project Brays bridge replacement and lifting A Construction on the bridge intersect- ing Brays Bayou at Buffalo Speedway will begin in late winter 2020 or early 2021. The bridge will be demolished and replaced with a higher, longer and wider bridge. The move is designed to increase the capacity of the channel, allowing for floodwaters to flow unobstructed throughout the bayou. The new bridge, once completed, will be four lanes

wide, including a left turn lane at each intersection, with an expanded 10-foot sidewalk. During construction, the bridge will be completely closed to commuter and pedestrian traffic. Detours up and down north and south Braeswood Bou- levard around the construction site can be expected. The schedule calls for a fall 2021 completion. B Construction on the Stella Link bridge is nearly completed. The project will extend the existing bridge by 50 feet to increase the capacity of the channel and allow more floodwaters to flow through

Brays Bayou. With the project comple- tion, the bridge will have 20-foot-high walls with handrails at the southern edge of the bridge that extend more than 450 feet upstream and over 150 feet down- stream. C After delays, construction work on the Hillcroft Avenue bridge was com- pleted in early November. Part of Project Brays, the flood mitigation project raised the bridge by 15 inches. The original start date had been June 24 but was pushed to July 1 after contractors scheduled to work on the project were affected by

ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF NOV. 30. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT BMWNEWS@COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM.

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BELLAIRE - MEYERLAND - WEST UNIVERSITY EDITION • DECEMBER 2020

SEEING A PRIMARY CARE DOCTOR Is Still Important

For everything from annual checkups to managing chronic conditions, taking care of your health should always be a priority. Houston Methodist primary care doctors are still available to provide personalized care for you and your family — safely. We offer a variety of convenient ways to get care from us, from same-day sick visits to extended hours at select locations. And, you can be confident that we are taking every necessary precaution to keep you safe during your visit, including:

Screening all patients, and seeing COVID-19 patients virtually only — allowing us to treat everyone safely

Ensuring social distancing in waiting rooms

Offering video visits with your doctor

Wearing masks while providing care

Adding evening and Saturday hours to space out appointments

Enhanced cleaning of equipment and surfaces

houstonmethodist.org/pcg Call or text: 713.394.6724

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

DRAINAGE UPDATES

COMPILED BY MATT DULIN, HUNTER MARROW & EMMA WHALEN

Projects in the Brays Bayou watershed

Sept. 2, Houston City Council approved $1.4 million to purchase the site. Timeline: summer 2021-spring 2022 Cost: $9 million Funding sources: Community Develop- ment Block Grant, city of Houston 5 Willow Waterhole expansion The city of Houston, the HCFCD, the Willow Waterhole Conservancy and the Friends of Levitt Houston continue to work on plans for stormwater detention and recreation facilities at the former Shell Oil Co. site. Houston City Council approved the $3.4 million land purchase in October 2019. Timeline: TBD Cost: TBD Funding source: TBD 6 Westbury apartment acquisition Houston City Council on Nov. 18 approved purchasing the Spring Village Apartments community at 11810 Chimney Rock Road, which will be demolished to make way for 6 acres of new drainage facilities or green space. The Houston Housing and Com- munity Development Department will facilitate the relocation of tenants. The apartments house 132 units, according to property listings. Timeline: TBD Cost: $11.5 million (design/construction TBD) Funding source: CDBG 7 Southside Place drainage The city of Southside Place is seeking additional federal grant funding from the General Land Oce to move forward on a project to construct new under- ground stormwater drains below Auden Street between University and Bellaire boulevards. Harris County approved $1.5 million in grant funding this summer.

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COMPLETED PROJECTS 1 Willow Waterhole Bayou detention Construction on a stormwater detention basin at Willow Waterhole Bayou upstream of South Post Oak Road was substantially completed in November, according to the Harris County Flood Control District. The basin can contain about 17.6 acre-feet, or almost 5.7 million gallons. Timeline: June-November Cost: $1.3 million Funding source: Harris County Flood Control District 2 South Braeswood Boulevard basins Construction on a series of three basins at South Braeswood Boulevard and West

early next year. The site will include three interconnected wet-bottom basins with new drainage pipes to transfer overow. The HCFCD purchased the 7.7-acre site in October 2019 for $14.3 million and is seeking federal support for construction. Timeline: early 2021-fall 2021 Cost: $2.2 million (estimated) Funding sources: HCFCD, U.S. Economic Development Administration grant 4 Spellman detention basin A new 208-acre-foot detention basin project in the Westbury neighborhood at the 6400 block of West Bellfort Avenue has been approved, and construction is slated to begin in the middle of 2021, according to Houston Public Works. On

Loop 610 was substantially complete as of early November. The project con- sists of 37 acre-feet of basins capable of holding more than 12 million gallons of stormwater, as well as new trees to replace those aected by construction. Timeline: January-November Cost: $1.6 million Funding source: HCFCD PROPOSED PROJECTS 3 Meyergrove detention basin A project to turn the former Meyergrove Apartment property at North Braeswood and Loop 610 into a 21 million-gallon de- tention basin remains in the design phase, though construction is expected to begin

Timeline: 2021-TBD Cost: $5.35 million Funding source: CDBG

ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF NOV. 30. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL DRAINAGE PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT BMWNEWSCOMMUNITYIMPACT.COM.

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BELLAIRE  MEYERLAND  WEST UNIVERSITY EDITION • DECEMBER 2020

Kindness is a gift that each of us is born with. And when we share it, the goodness that’s released is amazing. Our human connection is important to our well-being, but it’s essential when we’re sick and hurting. For decades, we’ve been proud to bring world-class medical and academic excellence to our communities. But we also know that treating every patient with kindness, empathy, and respect is key to healing. Humankindness is what we call this strength. It has stood the trials of life and the test of time, and it leads us forward every day. Learn more at stlukeshealth.org . thepower of human connection. Never underestimate

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

CITY& COUNTY

News from Harris County, Houston, Bellaire & West University Place

More than 10,000 voters participated in the Nov. 3 charter election, which had three propositions. TAKING SIDES

After Prop. Apasses, residents will havemore say over sidewalks

HIGHLIGHTS HOUSTON The Houston Police Department opened a

$10 million training facility Nov. 19 funded by Tillman Fertitta, the billionaire owner of Landry’s Inc. and the Houston Rockets. HARRIS COUNTY Isabel Longoria was sworn in as the county’s rst elections administrator Nov. 18, taking a role formed by combining election duties previously split between the county clerk and tax assessor-collector. Teneshia Hudspeth was sworn in Nov. 17 as county clerk, taking the post from interim County Clerk Chris Hollins. WEST UNIVERSITY PLACE After a Nov. 9 workshop, the city has decided against developing a program to allow residents to request city sta to watch their homes while they are away for extended periods of time. BELLAIRE The City Council approved Nov. 2 a study to evaluate all of the fees assessed by the city, as well as determining whether the annual overhead transfer from the city’s enterprise fund to the general fund is set at the proper level. The study is expected to take four months to complete.

BY HUNTER MARROW

including a hydrologic study, six months prior to a council vote approving construction. The new procedures outlined in the proposition will be incorporated into the standard process for projects involving sidewalks, interim City Manager Brant Gary said. The city’s only scheduled project that will be aected is from the $54 million Bonds for Better Bellaire pro- gram. That project package—Group C, Phase 3—consists of new street pavement and a storm sewer system designed to the 100-year event standard for sections of Larch Lane and Mimosa Drive and Cynthia, Cedar and Chelsea streets. “While project design is nearing completion, it will be City Coun- cil’s decision as to whether or not sidewalks will be initially included in the construction project scope,” Gary wrote in an email response to

Votes for

Votes against

BELLAIRE Voters in the city narrowly passed one of three propositions focusing on sidewalk construction Nov. 3, laying the longstanding division over the topic in clear view. Propositions B and C failed, but Proposition A was approved by a margin of 150 votes, with over 10,000 total voters participating. “From a high level, it shows just how divided the town is on this issue,” said Mike Jacobs, who represents Sidewalk Choice, a group of Bellaire residents who advocated for the ballot initiative. Critics of the propositions argued they were poorly worded and would result in an eective ban on future sidewalk improvements. The passage of Proposition A means residents along a proposed sidewalk project must be notied with project details,

Proposition A Proposition B 5,168 4,898 Proposition C 5,012

passed

5,018

failed

5,320

failed

5,148

More on Proposition A:

Requires the city to provide six months of notice prior to a City Council action to construct a sidewalk . The notice would include project schematics and other details, as well as a hydrological study of the proposed project by a third party.

SOURCES: HARRIS COUNTY, CITY OF BELLAIRE COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

questions. If sidewalks are included, the city will follow the new notice and process requirements, he said.

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BELLAIRE  MEYERLAND  WEST UNIVERSITY EDITION • DECEMBER 2020

Private school guide 2020

EDUCATION BRIEFS GUIDE

Information on local school options

News fromRound Rock, Pugerville & Hutto ISDs

Guide 2020 PrivateSchool The Bellaire-Meyerland-West University area oers parents several options to nd a school that aligns with their preferences and their children’s instructional needs. 7135356400 COMPILED BY HUNTER MARROW

Type: Jewish Application deadline: January 2021 Enrollment: 328 Tuition: $7,040-$14,765 Special programs: JSTEAM, art, Spanish, music Shlenker School 5600 N. Braeswood Blvd., Houston 7132706127 www.theshlenkerschool.org Ages/grades: 15 months-fth grade Type: Jewish Application deadline: Feb. 26, 2021 Enrollment: 300 Tuition: $8,000-$21,000 Special programs: Extended Day, early birds, summer camps, afternoon adven- tures, and after-school academy St. Nicholas School 3511A Linkwood Drive, Houston 7137919977 www.saintnicholas.school Ages/grades: Pre-K through eighth grade Type: Anglican Application deadline: Year-round Enrollment: 100 Tuition per academic year: $15,540 Special programs: Classical curriculum: Latin, French, and Spanish; Singapore Mathematics and Science; soccer, tennis, basketball

St. Stephen’s Episcopal School 1800 Sul Ross St., Houston 7138219100

http://school.ststephenshouston.org Ages/grades: 15 months through eighth grade Type: Episcopal Application deadline: Rolling Enrollment: 150 Tuition: $12,500-$23,400 Special programs: The da Vinci Lab for Creative Arts and Sciences, visual art, music, lm, theater Saint Thomas’ Episcopal School 4900 Jackwood St., Houston 7136663111 www.stes.org Ages/grades: Pre-K through 12th grade Application deadline: Jan. 15 (priority application deadline) Type: Episcopal Enrollment: 535 Tuition per academic year: $16,715- $21,060 Special programs: Scottish Arts program, swimming, cross country, orchestra, choir and yearbook St. Thomas More Parish School 5927 Wigton Drive, Houston 7137293434 www.stthomasmore-school.org

www.emanuelhouston.org/beckerschool Ages/grades: toddlers through kinder- garten Type: Jewish Application deadline: applications accepted year round; enrollment begins February 2021 Enrollment: 100 Tuition: varies by schedule Special programs: music, library, arts,

Religion based Annunciation Orthodox School 3600 Yoakum Blvd., Houston 7134705600 www.aoshouston.org Ages/grades: pre-K through eighth grade Type: Orthodox Christian Application deadline: Dec. 18 Enrollment: 705 Tuition: $19,450-$27,110 Special programs: athletics, ne arts, chapel, social-emotional curriculum,

outdoor play and gardening Beth Yeshurun Day School 4525 Beechnut St., Houston 7136661884 www.byds.org Ages/grades: infant-5 years old

public speaking Becker School 1500 Sunset Blvd., Houston

Move in by December 31 and lock in your rate to 2022!

*Limited time only. Some exclusions may apply. Please contact for more details.

12

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

Ages/grades: Pre-K through 8th grade Type: Catholic Application deadline: Nov. 1Jan. 29, 2021 Enrollment: 330 Tuition (per academic year): $7,860- $11,035 Special programs: academic compe- titions, Jr. Beta Club, speech teams, robotics club, band, cheerleading St. Vincent De Paul 6802 Bualo Speedway, Houston 7136662345 www.saintvincentschool.org Ages/grades: Pre-K from 4 years old through eighth grade Type: Catholic Application deadline: Jan. 14 Enrollment: 505 Tuition: $9,800-$10,970 Special programs: advanced academics, religion, service, athletics, ne arts Veritas Christian Academy 7000 Ferris St., Bellaire 7137739605 www.veritasca.org Ages/grades: Pre-K from 3 years old through eighth grade Type: Christian Application deadline: Jan. 15; rolling basis after Enrollment: 206

Tuition: $8,900-$13,900 Special Programs: STEAM, Cultural Expe- ditions program, sports, ne arts, Great Books program Westbury Christian 10420 Hillcroft St., Houston 7135518100 www.westburychristian.org Ages/grades: Pre-K from 3 years old through 12th grade Type: Christian Application deadline: Oct. 15; rst-round decisions Feb. 28, 2021; second-round decisions March 27, 2021 Enrollment: 350 Tuition: Varies by grade Special programs: middle/high school athletics, comprehensive ne arts programs/courses, Advanced Placement programwith 15+ AP courses, robotics and STEM, clubs, and competitions, social-emotional learning program Montessori St. Catherine’s Montessori 9821 Timberside Drive, Houston 7136652195 www.stcathmont.org Ages/grades: 14 months through 12th grade Application deadline: Jan. 15; rolling after

Application deadline: March 31 Enrollment: 110 Tuition: Nursery (3 months-1 year): $1,285 monthly; Toddlers (13): $1,065 monthly; Primary (36):$1,075 monthly; Elementary (rst to fth grade):$ 1,105 monthly; Middle class: (sixth to eighth grade): $1,315 monthly Special programs: Spanish, music, computer, physical education, ne arts to ages 614 The Post Oak School Early childhood through elementary cam- pus: 4600 Bissonnet St., Bellaire 7136616688 Middle and high school campus: 1010 Autrey St., Houston 8325381988 www.postoakschool.org Ages/grades: 14 months through 12th grade Application deadline: Jan. 8 (priority admission) Enrollment: 479 Tuition: $18,445-$33,292 Special programs: volleyball, basketball, Mad about Hoops, ag football, Montes- sori Model United Nations

that date Enrollment: 245 Tuition: $14,191

Special programs: AMI Montessori; environmental focus; 2020 inaugural high school class awarded $1.1 M in scholarships and accepted to 17 applied colleges; K12 LEEDS certied building, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd reli- gious curriculum The Fay School 105 N. Post Oak Lane, Houston 7136818300 www.thefayschool.org Ages/grades: Pre-K from 3 years old through fth grade Application deadline: Jan. 20, 2020 for rst-round application consideration; rolling admission available after Enrollment: 260 Tuition (per academic year): $21,900- $26,900 Special programs: outdoor education, leadership development, extended day, makerspace/engineering Montessori Learning Institute 5701 Beechnut St., Houston 7137715600 www.montessorilearninginstitute.com Ages/grades: 3 months through eighth grade

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BELLAIRE  MEYERLAND  WEST UNIVERSITY EDITION • DECEMBER 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

BUSINESS FEATURE

BY HUNTER MARROW

TIERS OF FOUNTAIN PENS

Dromgoole’s oers a variety of fountain pens at dierent price points.

Entry TIER

Mid TIER

Upper TIER

$28.99

$195

$498

Roller ball, fountain and ballpoint pens can be found on display.

Twsbi Eco Fountain Pen

Pilot Vanishing Point

Pineider La Grande Bellezza Gemstones

At this price point, the Twsbi Eco Fountain Pen is one of the most popular options at Dromgoole’s for beginners looking to play and experiment with fountain pens. The pen uses a piston ller for the ink, which makes for an easy ink lling process.

Once fountain pens begin entering this price point, manufacturers begin to use higher-quality materials for the nibs, such as gold. The Pilot Vanishing Point has a retractable nib, which makes for a faster and easier writing experience.

Prices in the upper tier of fountain pens start at about $250, but the sky is the limit. Materials are often some of the highest quality, and many fountain pens which go for hundreds or thousands of dollars are considered collector items.

Dromgoole’s FineWriting Instruments Rice Village family business has oered pen-to-paper products since 1961 T he slogan for Dromgoole’s Fine Writing Instruments—“A family owned business that’s The venture into the pen business kicked o in 1991 because of cus-

The Dromgoole family has run the store for four generations.

has seen a surge in interest among entry-level pen users, Christine said. She attributes that to a new interest in pen-to-paper interaction. “There’s just not a whole lot of creative outlets frommind to hand,” she said. “It’s that physical interac- tion that you just don’t get with a computer or tablet.” Dromgoole’s prides itself on letting its customers play with products at the store’s Ink Bar. Despite COVID-19, Dromgoole’s has thrived, Christine said, attributed in part to the business’s history as well as embracing online sales. “Now, has the website saved our bacon? One hundred percent,” Christine said.

Dromgoole’s Fine Writing Instruments 2515 Rice Blvd., Houston 713-526-4651 www.dromgooles.com Hours: Mon.-Fri. 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., closed Sun.

tomer requests for pens made by Montblanc, a German luxury brand. The couple decided to become an authorized Montblanc pen seller, which required a $10,000 investment. “It was so scary,” Christine said. “It was a lot of money for us, but that’s where it all started.” Dromgoole’s now carries nearly every major pen brand and type, as well as accessories including ink bottles, nibs and converters. “We’re not just about pens, though,” Christine said. “We’re about writing.” In the last ve years, the store

been putting ink on paper since 1961!”—has been appropriate since the business’s beginning, when it was an oce equipment dealer. The now fourth-generation business was founded by father-son duo Louis and Gene Dromgoole and became one of the largest typewriter and calculator dealers in Texas before evolving into the pen- and paper-fo- cused shop today in Rice Village. Gene’s son Larry Dromgoole purchased the Rice Village location from his father in 1987, and he now co-owns the store alongside his wife, Christine Dromgoole.

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BELLAIRE  MEYERLAND  WEST UNIVERSITY EDITION • DECEMBER 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

Retail analysis SPARED THE WORST?

MONTHLY SALES TAX REVENUE BELLAIRE

Since January, Bellaire sales tax receipts have remained steady overall, while West University Place has seen an 8% increase year over year. 2019 2020

WEST UNIVERSITY PLACE

$229,129

$250K $200K $150K $100K $50K 0

$192,196

AREA ZIP CODES

59

Despite business closures amid COVID-19, retail occupancy remains above 90% in the Bellaire-Meyerland-West University Place area. Meanwhile, rent continues to rise, from $20.60 per square foot in the third quarter of 2019 to $22.96 per square foot in the same period in 2020. SOURCES: NAI PARTNERS REAL ESTATE, TEXAS COMPTROLLER OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTSCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

77005

$167,115

77401

77030

77025

610

$24,155

77096

288

N

90

100% 98% 96% 94% 92% 90% 88%

In ZIP code 77096, where Mey- erland Plaza is located, occupancy dipped to 94.3% in the third quarter of 2020, down from 96.8% a year prior— though still higher than anticipated. “We’ve been very fortunate and surprised,” Davis said. For BPI Realty, which leases out retail space at a new shopping center on the corner of Bissonnet Street and Wakeforest Avenue, the pandemic hampered early leasing activity. “I would absolutely say that we’ve had a good handful of deals that we were working on during the early part of this year that lost momentum, and several of them died,” said David Fer- guson, a broker for BPI Realty, which handles leases at the shopping center. The shopping center did not see its rst lease signed until the middle of the year, and as a result, several 10,000-square-foot tenants did not materialize. Meanwhile, existing retailers have needed to adjust their operations, said Josh Friedlander, a broker with NewQuest Properties. “Restaurants, in particular, are hit- or-miss,” Friedlander said. “If you’ve adapted to social media and curbside pickup, a lot of restaurants are doing just as well as they used to do. It just really depends on how well they’ve adapted to change this year.” One of the most important keys for small, locally owned businesses, Fer- guson said, has been rent deferrals from landlords. “They said, ‘Look, we’re going to defer it, so we’re not going to make you pay it right now,’” Ferguson said. “‘We’re going to defer it to a later date,’ whenever that was—’maybe 2021 or maybe at the very end of your lease term that could be ve years away.’” Fidelis Realty adopted that strat- egy with its tenants, oering deferrals until 2021, Davis said.

“We worked with every one of the tenants that asked for help,” Davis said. “If they’re still struggling, we are absolutely wanting to help them, and to the extent we can, we will.” More turnover? Leasing activity has picked back up at Shops at Upper Kirby despite the slowdown, Ferguson said. “We’re really excited about the activity and interest we’ve gotten over the last few months, and things are starting to progress and free up, and deals are starting to move a little bit quicker now,” Ferguson said. Two restaurant groups have expressed interest in moving in, as has an urgent care clinic, and BPI Realty is in the pre-lease stage with a handful of other tenants. Friedlander said he expects similar activity in his rm’s shopping center in Rice Village and anticipates its revi- talization by the second half of 2021. However, even with a vaccine, a rebound is not a certainty. “I’m hoping that the coronavirus is almost over,” said Hazlewood, of Collegiate Cleaners. “I don’t know if my business will ever be the same because of these Zoom calls and con- ference calls.” But one business’s closure could be another’s opportunity. “There are some tenants that are just, you know, hanging by a thread because of COVID[-19],” Friedlander said. “So there could be more turn- over. But when there is turnover, there is demand for new tenants that can aord the rent market there, whereas some of the tenants that have been there 20 years may not be able to.”

The occupancy rate in 77401 decreased by 7.7%.

2019

2020

0%

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

Q1

Q2

Q3

Since 2019, the rent in 77030 has more than doubled.

$50

$40

$30

$20

$10

2019

2020

$0

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

Q1

Q2

Q3

commercial real estate rm that owns, develops and manages mid- to large-scale shopping centers, includ- ing Meyerland Plaza. It is seeing fall- out from the pandemic, said Lynn Davis, the rm’s co-founder and exec- utive vice president of leasing and development. Since the pandemic hit Houston, over the last several months, Meyer- land Plaza has seen nine vacancies as a result of bankruptcies and compa- nies choosing not to renew. Despite that, occupancy has man- aged to stay above 90%, Davis said. That gure lines up with occupancy rates in the Bellaire, Meyerland and West University Place areas in the data provided by NAI Partners, which includes information from all proper- ties 5,000 square feet and larger.

CONTINUED FROM 1

two percentage points year over year, from 96.6% in the third quarter of 2019 to 94.9% in the third quarter of 2020, according to retail data aggre- gated by real estate rm NAI Partners. That means that occupancy rates are relatively at despite the area adding almost 1 million square feet in new retail inventory in the past year as new properties became available. Bellaire’s retail occupancy has been hardest hit, dropping almost 8 points, but neighboring ZIP codes are largely holding steady as landlords defer rents to keep tenants and work to attract new ones. Drop, then recovery Fidelis Realty Partners is a

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